28.3 million people went to the doctor due to gastrointestinal disorders in 2014. About half of them have been diagnosed with ulcers. These statistics come from the CDC, who counts some 564 functional digestive disorders affecting the U.S.population.
Gastrointestinal disorders refer to conditions involving the GI tract, including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and rectum. Other organs involved in digestion can also be affected, such as the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. Digestive dysfunction can cause bloating, diarrhea, gas, stomach pain, and cramps.
In the U.S., there are literally half a thousand digestive disorders severely affecting millions of people. It could be tied to our diet and lifestyle, but it could also be connected with our stress levels, mental health, and environment. Let’s review the causes.
With more than 500 different digestive disorders on the books, the causes are broad and variant. Some disorders can have more than one cause and exhibit multiple symptoms. Common bacterial and viral infections can cause inflammation. A lactase deficiency and inability to digest a certain food, or poor digestive organ circulation can cause digestive disorders. As well, muscle dysfunction, gallstones, stress, and medications can also be a factor causing a gastrointestinal disorder.
Often, the lifestyle and diet choices that contribute to common digestive disorders will resolve in a short period of time. However, for many people the causes are more complex, involving medical conditions and illness that could be causing, or even exacerbating digestive disorders. Gut health is intimately tied to our physical and mental health, and all systems and functions need to be in balance with each other in order to achieve health and harmony.
According to the Gastroenterology Associates of New Jersey, the 5 most common digestive disorders are Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, Gallstones, Celiac Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and Ulcerative Colitis. In order to treat these conditions, physicians need to perform a multitude of different tests to find the specific diagnosis. Patients may need to identify problematic foods and lifestyle choices that make the conditions worse in order to identify the root cause. In severe cases, surgery is recommended to manage certain disorders such as appendicitis, tumors, ulcers. Surgery can also serve to repair structural problems from hernias or blockages.
Those not prescribed stomach drugs, often self-diagnose their condition and turn to over-the-counter antacids and heartburn medicines (Proton Pump Inhibitors PPI). Most of these medicines work in one way or another to shut down the stomach’s specialized cells that produce hydrogen ions, which create the acidity in the stomach. The drugs are only recommended for a short period, but millions of people buy them daily and use them habitually.
Author Karen Weintraub writes about stomach drugs possibly being linked to Alzheimer’s disease and Kidney problems in this year’s February edition of Scientific American. She explains that, because of chronically lowered stomach acid, serious infections can occur from a particular bacterium, Clostridium difficile. Long-term stomach acid suppression can also lead to vitamin and nutrient deficiencies due to absorption problems, which can trigger other more serious conditions. She also cites a JAMA Neurology study on 74,0000 Germans that found regular PPI users to have 44 percent higher risk of dementia than those not taking PPIs.
Not only could PPIs be linked to Alzheimer’s and dementia, but also kidney disease. Kidney disease patients from one study in BMC Nephrology were found to have been twice as likely as the general population to have been prescribed a [PPI]. Another study spanning over 20 years and 10,000 participants showed that those who took PPIs had a 20 to 50 percent higher risk of chronic kidney disease than those who didn’t.
Digestive disorders are often difficult to diagnose and treat. So many things could go wrong in such a large system. There is a vast collection of scientific research showing how cannabis can help reduce pain and inflammation in the body, which are the main symptoms associated with many digestive disorders. Now, recent research is suggesting that it may also bring relief to some gastrointestinal disorders as well.
The medical community is currently searching for answers in understanding how a clinical [endocannabinoid] deficiency could cause various medical conditions to develop. Individuals with few [endocannabinoid receptors] may lack certain homeostatic modulatory capabilities as seen in fibromyalgia patients, Crohn’s Disease, and even Depression.
Jeff Hergenrather, MD and President of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians wrote an article in 2005 titled, “Cannabis Alleviates Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease.” In the article, the doctor describes that Crohn’s patients reported cannabis use caused beneficial effects on appetite, pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, activity, and depression. They also reported weight gain, less diarrhea, fewer flare-ups with less severity, and significant relief of other symptoms related to immunosuppressive medications being reduced thanks to medical marijuana.
It’s important for long-term, chronic cannabis user to know that cyclical vomiting disorders have been rarely associated with cannabis. Some chronic users and patients found that when they stopped using cannabis, they suffered bouts of vomiting and GI issues. To learn more about the research into cannabinoid hyperemesis follow the links here.
Due to the millions upon millions of global cannabis users, and the plant's historical safety record, it’s probably safe to recommend cannabis as a medicine for GI disorders, however, marijuana will affect each person differently.
Those who suffer from various digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease or IBM could benefit from a healthy lifestyle, diet, and medical marijuana. Consult with a physician and medical marijuana professional about using cannabis, and follow the links below to strains that have been reported to alleviate digestive disorder symptoms.
· [[$100 OG]]
· [[13 Dawgs]]
· [[Afgani Skunk]]
· [[Afghan Skunk]]
· [[Afghani CBD]]
· [[Afghani Skunk]]
· [[Alice in Wonderland]]
· [[Aloha Berry]]
· [[Ancient Kush]]
· [[Ancient OG]]
· [[Aroma Kush]]
· [[Aurora Indica]]
· [[Banana Candy]]
· [[Bay 11]]